Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is an American national holiday observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King’s birthday, January 15. (more details)
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
This quote was used to form the title of a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode wherein Data is recognized to have the right of self-determination. It was a powerful yet frustrating episode the first time I saw it. Picard and Riker’s passion and eloquence were great but it was difficult to reconcile the supposed Federation Utopia against their blindness to the racism (and sexist) inherent in their culture.
If he hadn’t been murdered, I would find Martin Luther King, Jr. a challenging person. While his ideals made sense to me, and his words a salve, his bravery scares me. He acted against a system that lost nothing by inflicting harm against him.
I have lived a comfortable existence with little self-generated controversy in my soul. I’ve had fitful dreams and been unfocused. He would have sought to shake my foundations and wake me up. And I don’t know if, before today, I would have answered his texts let alone his call.
I used to live in fear of being a challenging person to like. As a result, I have become a challenging person for me to respect. And that is the furthest thing from anyone’s dream.
It’s 2016. There are too many real, scary things in the world to let myself be waylaid by self-doubt. So to honour him, and myself, consider this my new resolution:
What Will I Do For Myself?
- Mindfulness. Think deeper. React less. Act when ready.
- Learn. Learn more about the world to be a better tool for change.
- Kindness. For Myself. For Others.
Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
What Will I Do For Others?
- Continue adding my voice via social media – Retweeting when another person is unjustly murdered by the State, or the Toronto police façade of eliminating the POC carding practice.
- Call (myself/others) out for the subtle *ism (e.g., race and sex) in everyday conversation
- Provide more space, more stage time, a wider venue for POC faces and voices
- Volunteer: Be a face of change rather than just speak to its need
I must confess, my friends, the road ahead will not always be smooth. There will be still rocky places of frustration and meandering points of bewilderment. There will be inevitable setbacks here and there. There will be those moments when the buoyancy of hope will be transformed into the fatigue of despair. Our dreams will sometimes be shattered and our ethereal hopes blasted. We may again with tear-drenched eyes have to stand before the bier of some courageous civil rights worker whose life will be snuffed out by the dastardly acts of bloodthirsty mobs. Difficult and painful as it is, we must walk on in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future. – Martin Luther King, Jr.